Rabat – After receiving a standing ovation for her movie “Sofia,” Moroccan filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek won the award of “Best Screenplay” Friday night.
The day before winners will be announced for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the jury of the Un Certain Regard, chaired by actor Benicio del Toro, has delivered its verdict.
If Ali Abbasi’s “Border” won the grand prize, French-Moroccan filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek’s “Sofia” was not left out as it came first in the “Best Screenplay” category.
Meanwhile, Belgian Victor Polster, acting in “Girl,” won an award for his interpretation of a teenager who wants to become a woman; Sergei Loznitsa won “Best Director” for his powerful “Donbass,” and the Brazilian film “Les Morts et les autres” by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora was awarded the special jury prize.
“Sofia” is Meryem Benm’Barek’s first feature film. Her short film “Jennah” (her thesis project at INSAS in Brussels) won the 2014 Grand Prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
The cast includes Sara Elmhamdi Elalaoui (“Much Loved”), Sarah Perles (“Burnout” by Nour-Eddine Lakmari), Hamza Khafif, the Belgian Lubna Azabal (“Exiles” and “Paradise Now”), Faouzi Bensaidi (“The Blissful”), Nadia Niazi, and Saïd Bey.
Benm’Barek’s script tells the story of a single mother desperately searching for the father of her unborn child to avoid being reported to the authorities by the hospital.
However, the objective of the film is not to discover the identity of the father but to show “the pressure imposed by a society that cannot comprehend a birth without a husband”, as Benm’barek explained in a statement.